Thank you to all of you who have emailed/messaged/texted as well as sent anonymous email and snail mail. It was quite heartening to hear from so many people (some anonymous ones too!), who have one thing in common: better welfare for our beautiful retired racing greyhounds.
Seems that many greyhound lovers (both from racing side and from adoption side) rely somewhat on this blog to get information - and I will do my best to provide it.
We had to wait till today before publishing this blog post: we were asked (by some greyhound trainers as well as people in Greyhound Racing Assocoation - GRNZ) to wait until after the Greyhound Racing NZ Board meeting which was held on Thursday, 22nd May 2014 (yesterday). We, and many other greyhound lovers were told that "things will change for the better shortly after this meeting". Lets hope so - for dogs' sakes.
My blog post from last year, criticizing the performance of GAP NZ management (its Director's performance in particular) will be the basis of this post, so do please read that if you have not already - the link is here.
We want to stress in no uncertain terms that we believe the industry itself (Greyhound Racing NZ, GRNZ) has the best intentions re GAP and retired greyhounds adoption into pet homes; they heavily finance GAP NZ, the official adoption programme.
In the past however (for years actually, every time I complained), including relatively recently, I was told by the Racing Manager Stuart Cashen that (quote): "GRNZ do not run GAP, we just finance them, we just give them money ($200,000 per year). We have no say about what happens in GAP". With all due respect to Mr Cashen, this argument is ridiculous and I sincerely hope that this attitude has since changed. If someone finances an organization that heavily - they obviously SUPPORT that organization and have confidence in its Director and the Board. GAP is listed as 'partner ' on GRNZ website! (www.thedogs.co.nz)
If you supply an organisation with its running costs - you are INVOLVED and should take any complaints and statistics and KPAs and forecasting (or lack of) very seriously and follow up and (like it is customary) CUT THE FUNDING if that organization, its Director and its Board are not performing. Give this funding to some other organization(s)/business(es) who will perform. Businesses do it all the time! It is not rocket science - and I am sure that GRNZ knows this very well.
We love greyhound racing sport and we believe that greyhound racing is a lifeline for this breed we adore. I would like to stress again that myself and all the Nightrave team will always support racing industry-formed and financed adoption programme (GAP NZ at this stage) and its founding mission. Of course we will always support rehoming ex-racers into responsible homes. We are GRNZ licensed persons, we have racing dogs ourselves, and greyhounds (both racing and retired) are our biggest love.
But, we will never support an incapable manager like Ms Jacqui Eyley (and her Board), who has always struggled with basic management principles, and who recently has brought another catastrophic management failure upon GAP and the greyhounds due to retire in the future (more below).
As I have written on this blog last year, general GAP adoptions and dog entry statistics have been going DOWN or have stagnated for a three years now (please note this is a fact reflected in GAP annual reports available for download from their website, the link is here), GAP is taking less and less NEW retired dogs in (fact reflected in GAP annual report aswell) , due to lack of space, which is direct result of Ms Eyley's bad management (amongst other things). If you study this annual GAP report, you will notice that number of NEW retired dogs coming into the programme has been pretty much stagnating or decreasing with time. The number of newly retired dogs accepted into the programme and entered by racing owner/trainer have been falling down by approximately 5%-6% every year ( quote from the above GAP annual report: 197 dogs in 2010/2011, 185 dogs in 2011/2012 and down to 176 dogs in 2012/2013 ). This number is the true number that shows the true success and the growth rate of the programme - this declining trend is a massive problem and does not bode well for racers retiring in the future. This number should be significantly growing every year to ensure the needed growth of the programme.
Welfare cases have increased -yes (by a 'massive' 18 dogs in three years, according to this report which lists them there) - but what most people don't know (and what Ms Eyley loves to 'forget' to say) is that GRNZ has always paid GAP for these welfare dogs' expenses separately and in full. All welfare cases greyhounds who come to GAP have ALL their rehoming and rehab costs covered by Greyhound Racing Industry (GRNZ) directly, NOT by GAP. The reason is because GAP is NOT a rescue -it is an adoption programme. It has no rescue mandate - simply, it is NOT a rescue. It is financed by the racing industry (GRNZ) to place retired racers into pet homes - not to rescue greyhounds from anything, or from anywhere. Thus, for all greyhound welfare cases , GAP expenditure on these dogs is ZERO - they are processed by GAP (and might be picked up by GAP from pounds, SPCAs or abusive homes etc) , but invoices and all expenses are sent to GRNZ and paid by the industry (GRNZ), NOT by GAP. Ms Eyley never really liked to clarify or talk about this -as she liked to take the credit herself, and use these welfare greyhounds for her fundraising tactics. But -the facts stand, and invoices would prove this. As such, these rescued dogs also should have their own report and they should absolutely NOT impact the rate that newly retired racing dogs come into the industry-funded programme for newly retired racers.
Greyhounds returned from pet homes should have their own statistics and not be used to mislead the adoptions reports as such, as well as impact the rate that newly retired dogs are accepted into the programme (this is called forecasting and planning - concepts obviously foreign to GAP management). Returned dogs obviously are not processed the same as newly retired greyhounds - it is misleading to report on them the way it is done in the report. The rate of returned dogs is directly proportional to the service that GAP provides, it depends on the team working well together, aswell as to the support that new owner gets from GAP team. Some greyhounds are returned from their pet homes for ridiculous reasons (I saw a few abused greyhounds in pet homes and I was involved in rescuing these beaten, starved, mistreated retired greyhounds from their pet homes - and absolutely, they should be returned and rescued, for their own sake). However, many returns from good pet homes happen simply because the proper followup was not done by GAP team - and this comes down again to management issues and team communication and team building, NOT to individual team members. It is important to note that a number of GAP team members at times simply did not have support from the top to do their job (either paid or voluntary) and were basically setup to fail.
One can have an opinion and we don't have to agree with each other on anything - but FACTS are FACTS, STATISTICS are STATISTICS, and I encourage everyone to doublecheck them.
This of course is not an attack on Ms Eyley personally - but rather yet another evaluation of her performance in her role, as a Director of a registered charity. I personally could not care less who heads GAP NZ - as long as they do a good job and use the funds they get from Greyhound Racing NZ responsibly (and make their accounts public and transparent - more on this below).
For those of you who asked - I myself am not interested in this job or anything similar - I am more a business, entrepreneurial person, with marketing skills. I am not interested in running a charity as its Director.
This blog and everything I post is simply to try and do my bit in getting the best outcome for the retired dogs, be it via GAP NZ or elsewhere. This post is long overdue -and it comes after years of trying other (more discreet) avenues.
Karapiro GAP kennels resignation
None of the owners nor donors nor the GAP team in general were told this by GAP officially but Karapiro GAP kennels located in Waikato have recently resigned - pushed to do so by Ms Eyley's actions (proof below). Karapiro kennel managers Kaye and Ray Lord have sent an email to their friends in greyhound community announcing this and warning about the slander coming from Jacqui Eyley's side; this email was forwarded to me (anonymously) and full snapshot of it is below (you can click on it to see it in bigger size):
I was not surprised to read this: this was expected, more victims of Ms Eyley's slander campaigns. We have seen all this before, and I have experienced it myself aswell.
Of course, closure of this kennel means disaster for many retired greyhounds in the north region (and in all regions actually as now, the ridiculous GAP waiting list which Eyley is so proud of is now even longer and waiting times are pretty much doubled). In the end as always - dogs suffer.
I have been at the greyhound track in Wanganui quite often in the last few weeks and trainers are desperate - they have dogs that have been waiting for GAP for months; after this latest display from Eyley, they are bound to wait even longer. I have desperate trainers begging me to help them retire a dog or two - I have two in my house at the moment.
I am sick and tired of this - this has been going on for years. Our dogs don't deserve this. They don't deserve to have nowhere to go after their retirement, while Ms Eyley (and her Board) could not care less, while receiving $200K a year from GRNZ, she is still pushing her agenda and getting rid of good staff and volunteers, because they might have dared to put dogs first, and not her.
Auckland region GAP coordinator resignation
Auckland and Northland GAP coordinator Joel Welch was pushed to resign at the same time as Karapiro kennel managers. Mr Welch says that he was bullied and pushed out by Ms Eyley, to the point that he had no other choice but to resign. And he is hardly the only one. Welch was in a job for only a year, and he says: "I have lost some good people in my time with GAP - people leave because of Jacqui, and not with a good experience. They feel they have no choice because eventually they pose a threat or are outspoken about something they disagree with, they get the hard shoulder from Jacqui and some GAP individuals Jacqui has manipulated. I have witnessed these events first hand and many people will back me on this particular point – JACQUI EYLEY LIES. Not only this, she deceives people and as per normal gets away with it. This needs to STOP. I believe Jacqui to be more of a hindrance than help to GAP- although she puts on this manipulative mask that many people believe."
Accounts and expenses
We have received some amazing documents last week, we will share them here. These documents were sent to us anonymously and we thank the person who sent them to us (this person was bound to be from GAP itself, as I would imagine only GAP personnel would have access to XERO accounting system that GAP uses). We have asked for a second opinion from an expert and we were advised these documents look absolutely genuine (if Ms Eyley and her corrupt GAP Board do not agree - by all means, we invite them to release the correct accounts for everyone to see).
So all of you who go out there to attend Ms Eyley's 'supermarket challenges', where you take your retired greyhound to beg for a dollar from public , all of you who say you are 'collecting for the dogs', all of you who wear the insulting GAP T Shirt (designed by Ms Eyley) which demeans our noble racers by asking "Could you a spare a $ for us?" - all of you, THIS is what you are fundraising for:
(The first page of the first document is empty - I did not want to remove it as I wanted to post the document exactly as I received it. Please use horizontal scroll bars to see the pages in their full size -there is also a download option where you can download these documents in pdf format).
and a few more pages:
Yes, flights, expenses, including nice paid trips to Melbourne to (quote) 'visit and see what GAP Victoria is doing this year'.
Mr Kerry Marshall appears on these statements too - for those of you who don't know , Mr Marshall has been on the GAP Board for years and is very fond of Ms Eyley. His role is Board based, he knows nothing about the dogs and does not work with them - seems he has been doing a bit of flying around himself?
Truth be told, I myself saw Mr Marshall at the black tie Greyhound Racing Annual Awards dinner in October 2012. I knew he flew into Wellington (from Nelson) for that. Not in my wildest dreams did I think that he might have charged for this trip (and many others) to GAP?! I went for this dinner myself too, of course I paid for all my expenses and so have many other greyhound lovers (greyhound trainers, greyhound handlers, track staff, racing dog owners and retired greyhound owners) who attended. I simply cannot fathom that a GAP Board member would charge GAP for travel to this fancy event?! Take money away from the dogs and pay for his/her flights ?? Until I saw these documents, truly, it never crossed my mind. It is just too horrific.
What else has been charged to GAP? What on Earth are all these flights for? How many retired dogs could have been homed for the price of these flights alone? Why were the volunteers and fundraising people not told about these expenses? They have a right to know what they are fundraising for! What about donors? Don't they deserve to know WHERE their donations went?
Of course, we live in democracy and if they so wish, Ms Eyley's volunteers and supporters should be allowed to fundraise for flights and lifestyle expenses for Ms Eyley and Mr Marshall - however, at the moment, volunteers don't have this choice as they do it under GAP banner; they are kept in the dark and simply told "It is for the dogs". They are viciously misled - with dogs used as pawns.
EVERYONE, including every Mum who gets stopped in front of the supermarket by a GAP volunteer, after doing a weekly shop on a budget, and who elects to put a dollar in a begging tin "for greyhounds plight" should be shown these accounts pages above (actually, she should be shown FULL accounts for the current year), and also told , oh yes, by the way, Greyhound Racing NZ gives us (GAP) $200K a year. THEN, this Mum should be asked whether she still wants to donate that dollar. Anything else is a notorious lie, designed to get money from unsuspecting people (while promoting "greyhound plight").
Make no mistake - I don't believe that Greyhound Racing NZ (GRNZ) should fully finance GAP, after all, $200K is a lot of money. I do believe GAP can make their own income streams too, in addition to GRNZ funding. And why not? GAP has purebred, beautifully bred and raised dogs given to them to place in responsible homes, accompanied by a huge capital injection every year from the greyhound racing industry (GRNZ). There are numerous avenues of making money, without compromising our ex-racers and turning them into beggars in front of supermarkets.
Again - while volunteering for GAP, I myself was constantly told by Ms Eyley that 'GAP had no money'. There was NEVER any money for the dogs. It was a constant mantra coming from Eyley : NO MONEY - no matter what your request and no matter how small the amount.
One of our readers just pointed out that:
It is also important for those who go supermarket begging with their retired racers (who have never begged for anything in their whole lives) to make sure they read the page 11 of the Annual Report ( http://greyhoundsaspets.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Annual-Report-2013-Final-web.pdf ) and see the surplus (yes, quite a substantial surplus) of funds in GAP accounts, that keeps growing:
Page 6 of this report states: "At the end of the year net assets held by the Trust had increased by $23,421 to total $140,023. The Trust is holding these reserves as a deposit on a future purchase of a GAP owned kennel base"
This is all very well at a first glance (everyone is allowed to dream) - but it is important to realize that, as I stated above, the number of newly retired dogs accepted into the programme and entered by racing owner/trainer have been falling down by approximately 5%-6% every year ( quote from GAP annual report: 197 dogs in 2010/2011, 185 dogs in 2011/2012 and down to 176 dogs in 2012/2013 ), while at the very same time, the SURPLUS of money held in GAP account is GROWING every year. The issue is that the retired dogs need money NOW , rather than this money lying in some trust account for 10 years or whatever (and growing every year, squirreled away). The issue also is that many supermarket volunteers, aswell as donors , THINK and are carefully led to believe that they are collecting money for greyhounds IN KENNELS NOW, for greyhounds who need to come to GAP NOW, and be processed and homed as pets. They dont realize that this number is already capped (kennel space) - no matter how much money they raise, and that they are actually fundraising for some far fetched dream in the future (or for someone's flighs or overseas trips :))
Sure, everyone likes to own property ( I own lots of investment property myself), but retired dogs' welfare should come first and transparency is paramount in any charity. Programme needs to GROW - that should be the focus, rather than the purchase of some property for a programme with continuous declining retired dogs' entry stats.
I will leave it to you to read this report and calculate what an extra $140K could do for the dogs NOW (on top of existing GRNZ funding).
Steadfast Friends and Kennel Sponsorship Deception
With all this news and extra information coming in, I completely forgot to write about the above deception - and I was just reminded about this by one of the readers. Steadfast Friends and particularly Kennel Sponsorship deception was (I have to say) pretty impressive in its simplicity.
Steadfast Friends (http://greyhoundsaspets.org.nz/get-involved/donate/steadfast-friends/) was initially setup as "sponsor one day kenneling at $xxx/day". So basically, donors were led to believe that by paying for one day's kenneling, they were, together with another 6 Steadfast Friends, literally increasing the capacity of Sanson (or Amberley) kennels by an extra kennel a week ( a lovely thought, right?). This was not written down exactly, but carefully worded promo form led an average person to believe this. This pulled MANY unsuspecting and well-meaning "Steadfast Friends" in. However, it was an absolute lie, as leased kennel space at GAP kennels was FIXED. GAP leased 8 kennels in Sanson, and similar number or smaller (never bigger) in other kennels. Steadfast Friends donations, deceptively, had absolutely no bearing on this number of kennels! All the Steadfast donated money went to the common account, to be used for whatever, as GAP saw fit - it had nothing to do with kennel space whatsoever.
I myself was in the dark about this for years, until I was pointed this out by one frustrated GAP Kennel manager (unprompted). I was shocked. I complained about it to GRNZ and GAP Board and threatened to publish it (this was while I was in GAP - no wonder I was fired!). As a result of myself and a few more people compaining, the description was changed - now (since last year actually), this donation plan is described as ' for vet bills, dentals, corns etc'. Great. But where is this now reflected? How do we know that this money is now REALLY going to the vet bills? And how does this affect the budgeted vet bill? Where is the surplus...? Is it squirreled away for 'new kennel base'? Used for travelling/entertainment/something else...? Donors need to be told this -it has to be transparent and stated clearly in Annual report. Page 10 of the Annual report outlining finances and expenses (link given above) is very generalized and a bit of a joke - this needs to be WAY more detailed, to ensure donors see the whole picture.
Kennel Sponsorship scheme is even a more elaborate deception. I see it is not on GAP website any more, however, long time kennel sponsors are mentioned in the latest annual GAP report. I am not sure whether this scam is still operating, but I was approached to be a kennel sponsor by Ms Eyley in 2011/2012 (kennel sponsors basically sponsor ONE kennel for a time, at $12/day, or $16/day or whatever the rate of the leased kennel is). Again, people are led to believe they are INCREASING the GAP Kennel capacity by paying for one extra kennel (which is a complete and utter lie).
I appeared very keen - I told Ms Eyley that I would absolutely love to sponsor one Sanson kennel for a year to begin with (making the capacity of Sanson NINE GAP kennels instead of EIGHT, helping more greyhounds come into the programme , and being homed into pet homes, and increasing the adoption stats) . She was initially very chuffed indeed, until I informed her I was going to have to be shown 'my' sponsored kennel whenever I wanted to, and I would like my name written on it. You see, I knew that GAP leased only 8 kennels in Sanson and there was no way and no plans to lease another single one - knowing that Eyley is not interested in increasing capacity of kennels in the first place (and knowing she was just interested in my money, not in extra kennel and not in more options for retired dogs), I also told her I would need the GAP Kennel Manager's assurance (in writing, on the GAP letterhead) that a greyhound number NINE will be housed in this number NINE kennel, joining the other eight. I also informed her I would also need the occupancy rate of MY kennel reconciled every month to make sure that it is filled with a dog in need every day, and that this dog needs to be NUMBER NINE in this GAP kennel. After I outlined these simple and fair requests - I never heard from Eyley about this sponsorship again! :) :) Effectively, I offered a full sponsorship for an extra GAP kennel, and I never heard about it again -unbelievable maybe, but makes sense when you are familiar with the agenda. I expected this from Ms Eyley - I was not surprised at all.
Later on, via the slander grapevine, I heard that Eyley has stated that "Fatima is always so difficult and uncooperative, and despite saying she wanted to, she does not really care about sponsoring a kennel. She is very rude and people don't like her. She has cost dogs forever homes by her actions!!! ". If it was not so sad, it would have been hilarious! But I have to say - the deception was beautifully executed. I had the inside info and I could challenge Eyley; however, many unsuspecting victims knew nothing of the kind - they were carefully led to believe otherwise. And even I myself was painted as a monster by Ms Eyley's slander (simply for offering to sponsor a kennel in full, and asking for assurances and documents simply to attest to this) - making me not exactly popular amongst greyhound community. I was sent abusive emails by a couple of pet greyhound owners after this - outraged, misguided, brainwashed, worried people who had the best intentions; I did not and do not hold this against them as I know they were misled, and denied information by a vicious and very elaborate slander machine, and they had absolutely no chance. I have always said it and I will say it again: I am happy to testify about this under oath, in any court (I have offered this to GRNZ , in writing, aswell). Oh I would so cherish the chance to testify about this under oath!
These are only a few of very worrying things I have seen during and after my time in GAP led by current management - I am scared to even think about stuff we still might not be not aware of.
Fiona O'Neill fiasco and Employment Tribunal payout
Long term GAP Board member Mr Kerry Marshall is very fond of Ms Eyley, always supporting ANYTHING she wants, and as a result, of course he has always been very dismissive and at times rude towards me, a lowly volunteer who often disagreed with Ms Eyley (and who was often slandered by Ms Eyley, in front of anyone who would listen). I did not hold it against Mr Marshall - I respected his age, and did not see him often as he never worked with the dogs. I knew he obsessively supported Ms Eyley no matter what she did and it was a complete waste of time to try to complain about her actions to him - but it was just the way it was. Now, looking at these accounts, well, things are clearer :)
Mr Marshall comes into play in Fiona O'Neill fiasco. Fiona O'Neill, a passionate person from Amberley and also an accomplished businesswoman, was contracted as a Director of GAP in 2011/2012, while Ms Eyley took other employment (however, she joined Mr Marshall as a member of GAP Board). Fiona stated many times that her job was made very difficult by constant sabotage of her work by the GAP Board (who at this stage Eyley was a member of). Fiona's GAP contract was cancelled with no notice in June 2012 - despite Fiona stating that she enjoyed the job, in spite of all the difficulties the GAP Board subjected her to. Once Fiona was gone, incidentally, Ms Eyley came back to be GAP Director only a few months later. O'Neill subsequently took GAP Charity and GAP Board to Employment Tribunal, where she settled for a cash severance payment from GAP, which GAP Board paid, in return for a gagging order on O'Neill - who now can't give any details, except that she went to Employment Tribunal, basically won, and got a payout from GAP.
GAP staff were not told about GAP funds being used to pay off staff who took the Charity to the Employment Tribunal. Volunteers were not told, DONORS were not told, nobody was told. But I have known all along, I have made it my job to know.
I saw Mr Kerry Marshall in GAP Sanson kennells the day after this black tie dinner in October 2012 - when I AGAIN told him that I was worried about GAP not moving forward, not growing, defying all trends from overseas, Mr Marshall looked at me, straight in the eye and said: "Well we have been dealing with some stuff lately. I finally have dealt with Fiona - that took some time." I was so embarassed for him, his age means he could easily be my father. I looked at this 'distinguished' gentleman and thought: "Do you REALLY believe I don't know that GAP Board led by you paid Fiona O'Neill off? Do you really believe you can deceive EVERYBODY?"
I kept quiet though - this was only a few months before I was fired. At that stage, I was tired of constant lies and exhausted from challenging them.
I have just received a comment from Fiona O'Neill herself, who says:
"Just for the record, my contract with GAP was cancelled with no notice, mid contract, reasons given were that GAP HQ needed to be in Wellington, however the position was advertised as NZ wide, and stated the contractor could live outside of Wellington?
Good luck with getting this out in the open. So many more lovely hounds could be re-homed if a new direction was taken."
Myself and many other greyhound lovers are now waiting with bated breath for this promissed announcement from GRNZ, and the promised "change for the better". I imagine you all are too - speak out, Greyhound Racing New Zealand! Tell us the way forward, or somehow, we will have to make our own.
For the love of greyhounds, both racing and retired ones ..thank you for reading and for sharing.
I have enabled anonymous comments on this blog, so if you would like to say anything without revealing your identity, you can simply comment anonymously in the comment box on this post. To see comments already posted, just click on 'comments' link under the title of this post.
I have not allowed and I have deleted some comments that used 'bad' (impolite) language - please don't be offended, trust me, I of all people understand the frustration and desperation, I have spent days and weeks and months crying and suffering, worrying about the dogs, while being a victim of horrendous slander. But I think we all need to make sure we stay to the point and always remain polite. I am sure all of you will agree this is not meant to be a personal attack on Ms Eyley or Mr Marshall - far from it! This is simply an evaluation of their performance in their respective roles in a registered charity. Their personal lives and choices don't come into this, they are free to make those - it is only their performance in their jobs in GAP Charity that should concern us.
Any GAP staff or volunteers are of course welcome to contact us, either anonymously or not. Some of GAP personnel/volunteers have been in touch already - we value your input, we were in GAP once too, and we know many of you have only the dogs' best interests at heart.
If you would like to send us anonymous emails/documents etc, there are many online services which will enable you to do this (just google). Some of them are listed here: http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/anonymous-email-providers/
Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org , or my personal one, email@example.com
And thank you again for all of you who have already done it.